Give your children fruit and vegetables every day
Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre which help to keep your child healthy
By the time your child is 12 months old, aim to give them five portions of different fruit and vegetables every day. One portion should fit into the palm of their hand – so it might be a slice of apple for a toddler, but a small apple for a four-year-old.
How can I encourage my child to
eat fruit and vegetables?
- Treat fruit and vegetables like any other food
Fruit and vegetables are like any other food. Avoid presenting foods like biscuits and cakes as nice or a treat, and vegetables as something less enjoyable or different.
- Enjoy your own fruit and vegetables
If your child sees you eating and enjoying a variety of fruit and vegetables, they’re more likely to join in. They might refuse certain fruit and veg at first, but keep trying. If they see everyone else in the family enjoying them, they’ll often change their mind.
- Avoid bribery or reward tactics
Offering children rewards like ice cream in return for eating their vegetables can be tempting. But it doesn’t work in the long run. It teaches children that vegetables are less appealing. Children like food less in the long run if they have to be rewarded for eating it.
- Involve your child in choosing food and making meals
Encourage them to choose what fruit and veg they’d like. Take your child shopping. Let them see, touch and smell the food you buy. Let your child wash and prepare fruit and veg too. They can have fun making a fruit face or kebab for them to eat.
- Include fruit and vegetables with most meals
Instead of looking for new recipes, add vegetables to meals you already make. Try adding carrots into a pasta sauce, for example.
- Encourage snacking on fruit and veg
Always keep a bowl of fresh fruit handy. And keep some veg such as cucumber or carrot sticks in the fridge for a quick snack.
- Give children tinned, dried and frozen fruit and veg too
Frozen, tinned or dried fruit and vegetables can be just as good. They’re often cheaper and last longer than fresh, which is an added bonus. Just make sure you choose tinned fruit or vegetables that have natural juice or water, with no added salt or sugar.
- Keep trying – even if they’re fussy at first
It’s normal to be a fussy eater when you’re a child. We all turned our noses up at sprouts or broccoli once – some of us still do. It’s just part of becoming independent. All you have to do is make them available, and show that you enjoy fruit and veg too.